We are supposed to be a free nation. We tout our flag and talk about our freedom of speech, and our freedom of religion. We sing songs about our “sweet land of liberty.” We fought a revolution to be free from England and supposedly to have our rights.
The truth is, we don’t have as many rights as we think we do, or as many rights as we’d like. We will never have complete freedom to do as we want. When I pay off my mortgage, I still have to pay property tax or the city will take my house. I learned a few years ago that, even if I turn off my city water, I still have to pay the minimum payment every single month just because of the fact that it exists and I can have it turned on to my house. I can’t just own my house and do what I want. If I want to add on, I have to meet guidelines and get permission. If I don’t mow my lawn, the city can fine me. I can’t just go live off grid and be “free.” We may be free, but we are not ever totally free.
And this is why we fight tyranny and injustice in the family court system. In order to protect a few kids who might actually be in danger, we are under the rule of judges who rely on assumptions and don’t care one bit about our children or their safety. Worse yet, if we know their judgments are dangerous and and inaccurate, we can only “fight back” on their terms. We are under their thumbs. If a family court judge makes a decision that is harmful to a child because they are either malicious or foolish, we can not ignore it. We have to do what they say–no matter how sickening it is–or we are hurt worse. Sure, this works fine in some cases, but for so many of us who are dealing with sociopaths, court decisions are damaging, emotionally harmful, or even deadly. And we can’t do anything on our own terms. We are not free. If you try to protect your children by defying a court order, you lose and your children lose. You know reality in your head and you can hold evidence in your hand showing how sick your abuser is, and the judge will still make unbelievable decisions. You have to go along with them and keep appealing–draining yourself emotionally, physically, and financially–because if you refuse, you will lose everything and your children will suffer worse.
All of us who are divorced from sociopaths know the family court fails us badly. The courts victimize our children and they victimize us. The system favors abusers and any protective parent who doesn’t like it has to suck it up or lose custody. We often have to allow our children to be traumatized and abused to keep the situation from being worse. How sick is that?
When I was going through a custody battle, the court allowed the abuser to do things that would be shocking to any sane person. When I tell people what was allowed to go on, they either think I’m lying or tell me my attorney was crappy. Nope. We all have these horror stories and many are worse than mine. The courts allow the most unconscionable things to happen to our children, and we are held hostage to their bad decisions. One day, after the judge allowed the narcopath “rights” to endanger my child’s life, even my older and very experienced attorney was stunned. She said she just couldn’t believe it had been allowed to happen. No one could, but there the smug judge sat making an absurd ruling that we had to obey. As my attorney said to me, it was horribly wrong and there was no way it should have happened, but I had to play along because the court was in charge. This sounds negative, and it’s a horrible reality, but it is true.
Bad things happen in life, and often they *should* not happen. But…they do, and we don’t always get to control the horrible things that other people do. Acceptance is a very hard skill to learn and a hard concept to swallow, but it is essential to surviving the hell of dealing with a sociopath. Acceptance does not mean the abuse was okay. It doesn’t mean that you accept it was okay. Acceptance means that you accept the situation. We must live life as it is instead of as it should be, or as we want it to be. We can push for changes, but we have to do that from the framework of where we are now.
Where are we now? We are saddled by the terrorism of a sociopath in a world that mostly enables, dismisses, or overlooks evils done to other people. All our pleading, wishing, and praying cannot make sick people behave, or make other people stop supporting and allowing sickness. We have to accept our ugly situations at face value and then work within the system we have, because if we don’t, we risk making things worse. We are not free. We are at the mercy of the “system.” The family court judge might be a fool or might be a sociopath, but if they decide that your abuser can be alone with your children, and you refuse, YOU will be the one in contempt of court, and you will face the consequences. In order to protect your children, you have to play along. Sad but true.
This post was inspired by the many evils done by the family court system including the horror stories of Haleigh Poutre and Justina Pelletier to the current nightmare being faced by the parents of Alfie Evans in England. For those who don’t know, Alfie is a boy who is hospitalized with an undiagnosed brain disease. He is in a semi-vegetative state, but is pain-free, growing like a normal child, and is a beautiful boy. The hospital that was caring for him petitioned the British courts for custody and the rights to take him off life support last year. They won that right. The parents were not abusive or neglectful. All they wanted was to keep fighting for a miracle. In my personal opinion, it’s better to exhaust all options than to give up, because once that child is dead, there is no undoing the decision. To me, it is horrifying that a hospital would fight for the right to take the child’s future away from his parents, and worse, to fight for the right to end his life as soon as possible. But, just like us in the United States, they are not truly free. They are subject to a family court that has the option to rule their lives whether they like it or not. The family has been fighting hard to be allowed new opinions, different treatment, to move to a different hospital, to have more time, to at least bring their child home to die…and has been turned down every time. In fact, the more they fight, the nastier the judge gets. These people have no rights.They are being forced to watch their little boy die against their wishes. Today, the father did an about face and announced basically that they were giving up and doing as directed and stated that he wouldn’t be doing any more interviews. I have a strong feeling they were told if they continued to fight for their child’s life, they would lose the option to even see him. As of now, they are allowed to visit, but the child is guarded by a police officer so they can’t try to take him home or to another hospital.
Although this is different from the situations of those of us dealing with sociopaths, it’s not so different. Too many of us know the horror of being held hostage by a court order that is harmful to our children. We are helpless while other people who do not love our children get to rule our lives and determine our children’s futures. We might have shared custody where our child is taught to hate us half the time, or where we know they are going hungry, or where we know they are endangered, beaten, molested, and more. We are so sickened by having to accept the judge’s orders. And yet, if we make a fuss, we lose our kids. We can only go through this maddening and traumatizing court system over and over and over, knowing that we are never really free and our kids are never really safe.